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From Screen to Screen, 8600 Miles Away

Author: Julianne Marc Tamayo

Earlier this year, I was scrolling through the web looking for learning opportunities while I was confined to the walls of my home. I wasn’t thinking of anything specific at the time, really. Then, somehow, I found myself attending my first ESP program: Summer HSSP 2021. 

When I was signing up, I was hesitant because of something I could not control. When converted into my local time zone, the classes start at 1:00 in the morning and end at 5:00. I have just fixed my sleep schedule; what if I fall asleep? What if I doze off attending one class and wake up listening to a whole other topic?

However, when I attended the classes, I was surprised that I didn’t actually find them sleepy. In fact, the only instance where I looked at the time was during the few-minute interval breaks between one class to the next. 

My first class was Women’s Health. The discussions here were very useful and covered topics that women could utilize in their daily lives. I definitely learned a lot of things I didn’t know before and even shared some of the information to my friends. The instructor also introduced her cat to us on the first day (which was adorable)! 

My second class, during the first term, was How the Brain Learns: Cognitive Study Skills. Out of all the classes I attended, it was the one that had the most students with their cameras on. Games were used for engagement such as Kahoot! Hence, it was very fun to attend.

For the second term, my second class was Environmental Pollution. Here, I learned about different contaminants in the environment as well approaches to address them. The lessons stemmed from various fields such as geology and law.

My third class was Cool Theories in Math and Physics by Caltech Students. I am not kidding when I say this class had a wide range, because the first day I learned about things like the EPR Paradox and how quantum is weird while on the last day the first slide said “Death of the Universe and the Arrow of Time”. This class was probably the most STEM-heavy out of all the classes I had but it was one of my favorites! 

My fourth class was The Science of Happiness. It ranged from what a model is, some interesting research and experiments, and even  neuroscience! A lot of what I learned here were lessons I don’t think I’d hear in school, so it was really great to be able to listen.

Overall, my experience with HSSP has been the right balance of knowledge and fun. Because everything was virtual, I was able to attend even when I live around 8,600 miles away. Next year, if classes are face-to-face, I probably wouldn’t get to enjoy this again, but I am glad that I was able to attend this year. I’m glad I could look back and think that something good happened to me this summer despite all the restrictions of the pandemic.

Also, pandas are very cute.

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